There’s something about England that intrigues me. It has been in my bucket list for some time as well, and I feel like last month was the right moment to go (Pound sterling against Rupiah was at its lowest point for some time..). England in autumn is definitely beautiful, not in the cheerful way of summer or festive winter, but in a more subtle way. England, or at least London, oozes with history and art…and fun!
Oh yes, we all have heard about London raining too much, gloomy weather and such but luckily I only experienced rain twice when I was in London, what a good luck! That being said, you will still find loads of things to do even when it rains outside or gets too cold for you. This city just does not run out of things to do and to see. Here are the highlights of my week in London!
Take a London walking tour and of course, visit the touristy places!
It’s free but the tour guides are paid by tips, meaning that you pay what you feel is worth of the tour. I have done walking tours in few cities and they never failed to disappoint. I like it better than the usual city tours where you just pay pretty expensive price upfront and unfortunately, some tours just don’t feel the obligation to provide a good experience. I went with New Sandemans and I highly recommend it. My guide of the day, Jake, provided so many interesting facts about London that I wouldn’t have found out otherwise, like London being in the City of Westminster and not in the City of London. Or how uncreative English people are when it comes to names (“Green Park” because the park doesn’t have any flowers, or “Bath Spa” because the city has a Roman bath). And many stories about the royals too!
The touristy places in London, although bloody packed, are still worth visiting especially if it’s your first time in London (like me!). I sometimes don’t get the animosity towards touristy places, if it’s good then it’s good and don’t let the phrase ‘tourist trap’ bother you too much!
Oh yes, parked truck in front of Buckingham Palace. I also saw the Changing of the Guards at St. James’s Palace (which is where few royal family members live whenever they are in London).
Not to be confused with London Bridge, please. I repeat, this is NOT London Bridge. And please, don’t jump into River Thames. I feel better with Sungai Ciliwung now.
London Underground takes you places. Living in a city as packed as Jakarta, I don’t really mind the crowd that much (although it did my head in when it’s rush hour). But my NZ friend actually got pale when he had to take Underground on rush hour when we met up in Covent Garden. It cracked me up but I fed him a fresh Shake Shack burger, which of course makes everyone feel better.
Covent Garden in the morning
Just gotta see what Harrods is all about, you know. It is humongous, endless maze of everything you can buy that you can think of (or even can’t think of). Like you can buy gold bars off the shelf. They closed down the pet department 2 years ago, but you can expect to find other weird stuffs around. It’s easy to be trapped in here, after all Harrods feel like Christmas all year long.
Let’s move along.
Outdoor Iceskating at Canary Wharf
Poor quality picture but I promise you it was tons of fun. Besides, the ice rink LIT UP, how cool is that! I got to channel my inner 10-year-old figure skater self!
This outdoor rink is by the Natural History Museum, which brings me to…
London is bursting with amazing museums, says one (a.k.a me) who doesn’t really like museums that much. With the close proximity to each other, you can do an afternoon of museum-hopping to Natural History Museum, Victoria&Albert (V&A) and Science Museum, which was what I did. My favorite of the bunch is Natural History Museum! I also spent some time at Tate Modern, which is right in front of Millenium Bridge (the other side of the picture above). And what’s best is that many many museums in London have free entry!
Both at Tate Modern. We failed to see the art on the white canvas, would you enlighten us?
Theatre night and Netsky
London has so many plays going on every night to choose from. It’s a very nice way to spend the evening, don’t you think? I did have the chance to go one evening and of course, unsurprisingly, I chose Mammamia! the Musical. It was absolutely amazing, my friend and I enjoyed it a lot and the songs just got stuck in my head for the next few days. I would love to see Harry Potter, but the ticket is sold out….until 2017.
In all honesty, I have never heard of Netsky before my friend told me we’re going to their gig. My ‘no expectation to things you don’t know’ policy works, since Netsky ended up being super awesome! He’s a Belgian musician and I encourage you to open your Spotify now. It was in Kentish Town then we proceeded to go to Camden for the rest of the night to celebrate (or uncelebrate) NZ rugby losing against Ireland.
Explore English markets
Yes we did have roast night planned after Camden, but who am I to decline piping hot poffertjes with dollop of nutella on top…
…and a portion of an authentic fish and chips?
Which reminds me, my friends organized a roast night of pork belly, chicken, veggies and garlic bread. And some wine. It was super super delicious!
Walking in the park
(Cheesy, but it was really really nice.)
Hyde Park Corner being too beautiful. Early summer will so be nice for some afternoon picnic!
Cue The Weeknd’s I Can’t Feel My Face
(Even if I am with you, I still couldn’t feel my face. Just too, too cold.)
London, it was great time. Until next time.